Theater of the Absurd

By Martin Sherman

Published in YNet News.com

Obama, after the “pragmatic” Palestinians have repudiated any idea of “historic compromise,” any recognition of Jewish national sovereignty: “…so far the talks are moving forward in a constructive way…”

You couldn’t make this stuff up!

In a different universe the recent events regarding the rekindling of the “peace process” could well be the stuff of a macabre comedy, couched and conveyed in deliberately overstated caricature.

But sadly in this universe they portend tragedy.

It has been an almost inconceivable spectacle, beginning with the Israeli prime minister traveling to Washington to express his resolve and commitment to implement a policy that he has repeatedly repudiated – and ridiculed – for over a decade and a half.

Macabre Comedy

Even more astonishing is the fact that he did so not because his earlier criticism was proven unfounded in any way, but despite the fact that it was proven well founded in every way; not because his previous warnings that the policy would herald disaster were proven wrong but despite the fact that they were proven right.

Yet the absurdity does not end here. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of Middle East politics things get “curiouser and curiouser.”

No less astounding than Netanyahu’s acquiescence to discuss the implementation of the very policy he correctly predicted would fail, is the identity of the “partner” with whom he assented to do so. The Palestinian negotiation team is led by Mahmoud Abbas, someone who has neither the formal legality (since his terms of office has expired) nor the political legitimacy (since his authority in not recognized by a sizeable segment of the electorate) to do so.

And then enter Hamas. With an impeccable sense of timing, Abbas’ radical adversaries carried out two brutal terror attacks on Israelis, dramatically demonstrating that the man Netanyahu has incongruously deemed “my-partner-in-peace” cannot control events in the areas he purports to administer- underscoring both the impotence of the Palestinian “partner” and pointlessness of negotiating with him.

For what would be the value of an agreements reached if there is no guarantee that the Palestinian signatories will be any position to honor or enforce them, even assuming they desire to do so?

Abbas wants to shape Israel 

And just to drive home the absurdity and futility of the entire exercise, after explicitly rejecting Netanyahu’s call for a “historic compromise,” Abbas pronounced categorically that “we won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” as to do so would “block any chance of Palestinian refugees from returning to their original homes inside Israel.”

This was reiterated the very next day by senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath, who declared that “The Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” since this “would…prevent Palestinian refugees, who left their homes and villages a number of decades ago, from being granted the right to return to them.”

So not only do the Palestinian leaders openly admit that they will never recognize the Jews’ right to political sovereignty in the Israel, but by obdurately insisting on the “right of return,” they make it quite clear that the only agreement acceptable to them is one that would make the maintenance of such political sovereignty untenable.

Now one might well ask: If Netanyahu is not recognized by his Palestinian interlocutors as representing the Jewish nation-state, precisely in what capacity is he participating in the “process”? But an even more troubling conundrum arises: In what capacity is Abbas doing so? For it seems that he has adopted a trans-national – or at least a trans-frontier – posture, speaking not only for the people he foresees living under the sovereignty of the envisioned Palestinian state, but also for those who he foresees will not!

Indeed, Abbas’ demands are not restricted to shaping the future state of Palestine, its character, the extent of its boundaries and the composition of its population (i.e. Judenrein with all the Jewish “settlements” evacuated and all the Jewish settlers expelled.) His demands extend to shaping the character of the State of Israel and to what the composition of its population should be (which à la Abbas is to include millions of non-Jewish Palestinian “refugees.”)

In short, the “president” of a yet-to-be-established state – whose term of office has expired and whose legitimacy is contested by a significant portion of those he purports to represent – lays down, as a categorical demand, that for any agreement to be reached literally millions of people from third-party countries must be admitted as citizens – not into the sovereign territory of putative state over which he supposedly will have authority but into the sovereign territory of another state.

Like I said: You couldn’t make this stuff up!

Why help faltering, anti-Israel president? 

But perhaps the most macabre aspect of this preposterous tragic-comic spectacle is that it the only conceivable reason for Israel to participate in it at all, is to mollify a floundering US Administration desperate for some indication – any indication – of success to boost its flagging popularity

Now had this been an Administration that had wide spread support across the US, there might have been some justification in reluctantly acquiescing to its behest. Alternatively, had this been an Administration which was favorably disposed towards Israel there might have been some argument for lending it support in a time of distress. But neither of these is true.

On the one hand, the approval rates for the Obama Administration have been dropping like a lead balloon with public support evaporating with each passing week. On the other hand, the Obama Administration been described as arguably “the most anti-Israel Administration in the modern history of the state of Israel.”

So what conceivable political rationale is there in Netanyahu embracing a policy that rewards the White House’s hostility and hubris and accommodates Israel’s humiliation? What is possible political wisdom is there in providing the deeply unpopular incumbent Administration anything that might make it “look good”; anything that could give it any electoral advantage over the far more Israel-friendly Republican Party – especially as the crucial mid-term elections approach?

And if anyone thought that matter could not get any more farcical, they would be wrong. For just recently, Obama issued his latest exhortation for Netanyahu to make another gesture and extend the soon-to-expire building freeze. His reasoning: After the “pragmatic” Palestinians have repudiated any idea of making an “historic compromise” and any recognition of Jewish national sovereignty 60 years after Israel’s establishment, was:

“…so far the talks are moving forward in a constructive way, it makes sense to extend that moratorium so long as the talks are moving in a constructive way.”

You couldn’t make this stuff up! Or have I said that before?

54 Democratic Congressmen Urge Obama To Pressure Israel

The Jerusalem Post prints an article by Matt Brooks of The Republican Jewish Coalition on a letter written to President Obama by 54 Democratic Congressmen.

The 54 Democrat members of Congress (no Republicans) who signed the January 21, 2010 letter to President Barack Obama initiated by Reps. Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) presumably wanted to make a thoughtful, serious statement of concern and a specific request for action. They were concerned for the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza and their request was that American government pressure be brought to bear on Israel to ease the restrictions on Israel’s border with Gaza.

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) took the letter and its words seriously. We saw that the ‘Gaza 54’ called for the loosening of security measures that Israel put into place to stop terrorism and reduce the ability of Hamas to launch attacks on Israel. The letter acknowledged that “the Israeli government has imposed restrictions on Gaza out of a legitimate and keenly felt fear of continued terrorist action by Hamas and other militant groups.” But the congressmen did not make any mention of the potential consequences for Israel, or what alternate measures would provide equal protection for Israel’s citizens against attacks initiated from Gaza.

The letter simply asserted, without foundation, that: “Easing the blockade (sic) on Gaza will not only improve the conditions on the ground for Gaza’s civilian population, but will also undermine the tunnel economy which has strengthened Hamas… Most importantly, lifting these restrictions will give civilians in Gaza a tangible sense that diplomacy can be an effective tool for bettering their conditions. Your Administration’s overarching Middle East peace efforts will benefit Israel, the Palestinians, and the entire region.”

One in five Democrats in Congress signed a letter asking the president to pressure Israel to take unilateral actions that its leaders believe would undermine its security, with no concomitant expectation of concrete action on the Palestinian side to assure the safety of Israeli citizens. They are willing to bet that if American diplomacy forces Israel to make “tangible” changes to its policies, that will somehow “benefit Israel” in the long run.

This is at best, naïve. Israel can’t afford to relax its security measures just because someone in the US says it will all be okay. Its enemies’ commitment to its destruction has not waned. Loosening the “blockade” will not persuade Hamas to change its goals nor deter it from attacking.

THE DEMOCRATS’ letter effectively demonstrates a mind-set all too typical of the Left, which we are seeing increasingly in more “mainstream” discourse: that Israel is doing wrong, Israel must make concessions, Israel is not acting morally except when it gives in. Unfortunately, history teaches us that appeasement leads to more violence, not less. The fact that so many Democrats signed the letter is troubling in and of itself.

The RJC (generously) called the letter signers “misguided.” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) agrees, telling The Jerusalem Post’s Shmuel Rosner in a recent interview that the Gaza 54 are “misinformed” legislators.

The RJC decided to take action because we were troubled that 54 Democratic congressmen would call on the president to pressure Israel in this way. We asked our members to express their view on the letter. Within hours, a strong grassroots showing from across the country had signed the petition on our web site, calling for the letter signers to “take a firm stand against terrorism by disassociating yourself from this dangerous letter and upholding America’s commitment to Israel’s security in the future.”

There are simple facts missing from the Gaza 54 letter about Israel’s actions to help the residents of Gaza. The same facts were missing from remarks by one of the 54, Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), who last week told students in Gaza that the US should bring in ships to the coast to break the Israeli “blockade” on the Gaza Strip.

As RJC wrote in our own letter to President Obama, asking him to repudiate Baird’s remarks: Egypt also has a blockade of Gaza in place and is constructing a wall, similar to Israel’s, to stop the smuggling of people and weapons across its border with Gaza; Israel allows huge quantities of food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies into Gaza each day; Israel has prohibited only building supplies from coming into Gaza, to prevent them from being diverted by Hamas to military use. Israel has taken necessary and justifiable steps to stop terrorism originating from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

THE TRUTH is that the Palestinians are victims of their leaders and of their choices. For decades they have been taught to hate Israel (and Jews), to demand retribution and reparations, and to never compromise – by leaders who pocketed the funds meant to help them, corrupted the political system meant to lead them, and used them as foot soldiers against a reluctant enemy, Israel. Sadly, the lessons of hatred have been well-learned. Palestinian voters chose Hamas in the election of January 2006, giving them 74 of the 132 parliamentary seats and leading to the June 2007 Hamas coup in Gaza that split the Palestinian proto-polity in two. Afterward, hundreds of rockets were launched from within Gaza. The “blockade” of Gaza is a direct result of all these events.

The 54 Democrats who wrote to President Obama should understand this history and the Israeli security measures required to guarantee Israel’s continued existence and safety. They paid lip service to Israel’s security needs, but without confronting the hard question, which Israel faces daily, of how to keep Israeli citizens safe.

Lacking that important element, the letter was just another outrageous political attack on Israel and it deserved the condemnation of RJC and other friends of Israel. We stand by our characterization of the letter and by our statements about it.

I wonder if Jewish Democrats have yet begun to realize that the Republican Party is the party that will protect the Jews of Israel. The Democrats will throw Israel under the bus to win favor with the Arabs.

Previous related posts:
Netanyahu Rejects Obama Request To Stop Building in East Jerusalem
Israel Will be Thrown Under the Bus
Arabs Defend Israel Against American Administration
Obama: No Ally to Israel
Obama: No Friend of Israel
American Jews are in Denial
Can Jews Afford To “Roll the Dice” on Obama?
Morris: American Jews Misguided
Jackson Confirms Jewish Community Concerns About Obama
Foreign Policy is Reason to Vote McCain
The Jewish Case Against Barack Obama
Obama, McCain and Israel’s National Security
The Obama Voter – Not This Jew

A Letter To Secretary of State Clinton from Israel

Respect our Wishes

Secretary of State Clinton must accept that most Israelis object to two-state solution

Dear Ms. Clinton,

This letter was originally written in Hebrew, which you would probably have trouble reading. However, I know that more than a language barrier stands between us. More than 3,000 years of history make a difference too. There are historic lessons and perspectives that the Jewish people learned in person. At this time, on the eve of Purim, when again we see a Persian archenemy planning to exterminate us, all the ancient defense mechanisms are emerging within us – the ones that refuse to buy into the false promises of those who view themselves as Israel’s friends, and as such tell us what is good for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel.

You came here from the world’s greatest and strongest democracy. You come from the Democratic Party and you know how to recite the familiar mantras, claiming that the United States respects Israel’s democracy and will cooperate with any elected Israeli government.

Well, Israeli democracy has spoken: Most Israeli citizens do not wish to establish an Arab terror state in our homeland. If your democracy is real, you should of course respect the democracy of others as well.

However, as we all realize that what guides the US is not democracy in other countries, but rather, what the American Administration perceives as American interests – it would be worthwhile to remind you of Einstein’s definition for madness. He said that madness is the attempt to repeat the same action time and again, in the hopes that the result will be different next time.

The US, while conveniently ignoring the values of democracy, attempted on more than one occasion to appease aggressors, especially by sacrificing the interests of other states. Yet it always ended disastrously. Only when these aggressors attacked the US, its citizens, or its interests, America changed its policy.

At this time it appears that the US is planning to appease the Iranians, Syrians, and Palestinians by paying with “Israeli currency.” As you recall, dear Ms. Clinton, we have too much history. We remember what happened when the Free World was willing to sacrifice Czechoslovakia in order to appease Hitler. We are unwilling to risk our very existence in order for the US to buy itself a quiet withdrawal from Iraq.

Encouraging terrorism

Nobody really thinks that words or economic sanctions will prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. America’s declarations that it will destroy Iran should it dare attack Israel with nuclear weapons don’t help us, because we are unwilling to be the excuse for attacking Iran after we’ve already been exterminated. This too is a historical lesson we bear. We are also unwilling to see the desire to appease the Sunnis in Iraq to prompt an American payment to the Syrians and Palestinians.

Don’t you understand that pressing Israel to renounce the Golan Heights in order to buy Syrian cooperation with the withdrawal form Iraq will not calm the Mideast, bring peace, or reinforce western democracy? Rather, it will encourage the Arabs to continue on the path of terrorism because you will prove to them that terrorism pays off.

Dozens of bloody conflicts are taking place worldwide. The vast majority pit Muslims against their neighbors. The US is not fighting Jihadist terror in Afghanistan and Iraq because Israel is building houses in the West Bank. One cannot cure a global disease by using a local lotion; however, you may prompt a global Jihad flare-up should you try to sacrifice Israel’s interests in order to appease Muslim terror.

And if everything is no more than a show – hollow words empty of all substance – and the only purpose of your visit was to press the upcoming government to form a cabinet that would be convenient for the US and bring leftist Trojan horses into it – then certainly it would be worthwhile to remind you, Ms. Secretary of State, that Tzipi Livni or Ehud Barak failed to realize your dream or President’s Bush’s vision – to give the Arabs another state – even when they were in power.

So why should this suicidal attempt succeed now, after they lost the support of the Israeli people? Ms. Clinton, do you also believe that only Likud can realize the plans of Peace Now?

Arieh Eldad is a National Union Knesset member
From YNET News

 

The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

The Price of Bush’s Commitment to Palestinian Statehood

By Elan Journo

On his recent visit to the Middle East, Vice President Cheney voiced the Bush administration’s belief that a Palestinian state is “long overdue” and vowed to help make that goal a reality. Many conservatives and liberals agree with the administration that America should help fulfill the long-deferred Palestinian aspirations to statehood. The idea is that in doing so we would go a long way toward dousing the flames of Islamist terrorism.

But does U.S. backing for Palestinian statehood advance our security?

Only if you think we’re better off fostering a new terrorist state.

That may seem excessively harsh given President Bush’s mantra that Palestinians just want “the opportunity to use [their talents and] gifts to better their own lives and build a future for their children.” The Bush line we keep hearing is that the terrorists and their supporters are but a fringe element that will be marginalized under the new state, which will coexist “side by side in peace” with Israel and the Western world.

But listen to Palestinian clerics at Friday sermons, calling for violent attacks on Israel. Look at the lurid posters in the homes and shops of ordinary Palestinians, passionately glorifying “martyrs” and terrorist kingpins. Look at their coordinated digging of tunnels to smuggle in weapons and explosives. Look at the popular collusion with Islamist militants and their stream of recruits. Recall the years of ferocious attacks against Israeli towns.

If the mass of Palestinians just want peace and a better life, they would not despise and war against the only state in the region, Israel, that protects individual rights and that offers a standard of living far superior to (even the richest) Arab regimes. They would be far better off, freer and safer, if they put away their rocks, bullets and dynamite belts and sought to live and work in Israel (as some once did).

Instead, they flood the streets to protest negotiations about peaceful co-existence with Israel. Ideologically, their dominant factions are the Islamic totalitarians of Hamas and the nationalist terrorists of Fatah. These differ only in their form of dictatorship–religious or ethnic. Both promise their followers, one way or another, to wipe out Israel.

That hostility to Israel, the only free nation in the Middle East, should make any U.S. president stand firmly against the Palestinian cause. Particularly in a post-9/11 world, Washington should recognize that U.S. security is strengthened by preventing Islamist terrorists from securing another stronghold and training ground.

Given the overwhelming evidence that it would undermine U.S. security, what explains the Bush administration’s come-hell-or-high-water promise to do “everything we can” to back a Palestinian state? It is the administration’s belief that America has a duty to ease the suffering of the world’s wretched, regardless of the cost in lives to us.

That’s why, after Palestinians brought Hamas to power in a landslide, Washington responded with “compassion” for their “humanitarian” needs. Of course the United States and its European allies felt compelled to “isolate” the Hamas regime by cutting off direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. But they refused to believe the Palestinians themselves should be held responsible for how they voted, because they’re already dirt poor. This meant suspending our judgment and absolving Palestinians of culpability for choosing murderers to lead them. So, despite the embargo on aid to the Hamas-led government, in 2006 U.S. aid to Palestinians increased by 17 percent to $468 million, propping up their terrorist proto-state.

This policy’s result is to endorse, facilitate, and vitalize Palestinian aggression. We’ve seen the unleashing of a popularly supported Hamas-Hezbollah war against Israel in 2006 and ongoing attacks springing from Gaza. Al Qaeda has reportedly already set up shop alongside other jihadists in the Palestinian territories. Just imagine the mushrooming of terrorist training camps and explosives factories under a sovereign Palestinian state. Imagine how emboldened jihadists will feel operating under a regime that Washington has created and blessed.

This is the price of a policy based not on furthering U.S. security, but on undeserved pity. This is the price of willfully ignoring the vile nature of Palestinian goals, treating these hostile people as above reproach and rewarding their irrationality.

Isn’t it time we demand a policy that puts our security first?

Elan Journo is a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute (http://www.aynrand.org/) in Irvine, Calif. The Institute promotes Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.” Contact the writer at media@aynrand.org.

 

Clear thinking from James Woolsey

Clear thinking from James Woolsey

James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA, in an interview with Israel National Radio, has spoken a blunt truth.

Asked his opinion on the establishment of a Palestinian state, the former CIA director recommended that it not happen in the coming decades. He said that though the Jewish presence in this region precedes the Moslem claim – “for some Muslims like Arafat to deny that Jews were ever present here is idiotic” – the Moslems also have national rights in the area.

Openly avoiding the question of the nature or borders of a Palestinian state, he emphasized his opinion that “the Palestinians should not be granted the right to statehood until they start to treat Israeli Jews who settle in the West Bank as fairly as Israel treats its Muslim citizens.”

“An Arab Muslim living in Jaffa,” Woolsey said, “enjoys freedom of speech, religion, and expression, and can vote for his representatives in the Knesset, and doesn’t go to sleep worrying that some government element might come and kill him. I think that once the Palestinians start treating Jewish settlers with that same degree of humanity – and they’re very, very far from doing that now – at that point I think we have to seriously consider how they could have some degree of self-governing. I won’t get into the question of borders, but what I think is that the Palestinians must be held to the same standards as Israel regarding how they treat the other. I am sure this will be many decades from now, though, because their children are taught the Wahhabi doctrine of being suicide bombers and the like.”

Woolsey also says, of involving Syria and Iran in discussion about the Middle East:

Traiman: “There are continuous calls for American troop withdrawals from Iraq; the unilateral withdrawal idea is back on the table here in Israel; and talks with Syria are again being pushed. Why are we playing the appeasement card?”Woolsey: “Appeasement isn’t called playing a card – it’s just folding. I think those steps that you just mentioned are most unwise. Talking to Syria and negotiating should be done only when one has leverage… Unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank would not be a wise step for Israel to take; when one sees what happened in Gaza, and sees the political advantage that Hamas has taken of the situation to claim unilateral victory and now to be part of the PA government – how many failures do you need before you recognize that it’s a failure?”

Read the whole article.

I hope the Olmert Government is listening to Director Woolsey.

I also wonder why the Senate is not listening to former CIA Director Woolsey as they proceed to issue a Resolution, even though non-binding, that will give comfort and hope to our enemy while our troops are in harms way. A despicable act, in my view.

In a separate interview, James Woolsey says that

The Israeli-Palestinian peace process was a “scam” during the 1990s and because of that Washington should not be pushing Israel to make a “land for peace deal” now.Bush is the first U.S. leader to publicly back the idea of a “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But former CIA director James Woolsey said this week the U.S. should learn from past experience. Until something changes in the P.A. there would not be an Israeli-Palestinian deal, he said.